Previous generations used to insist on a spoonful of cod liver oil daily. I’ve heard lots of stories of kids gagging down the horrific tasting stuff with the general insistence that “it’s good for you!” Now, it looks like our grandparents knew what they were talking about.
Researchers at Cardiff University have found cod liver oil may delay or even reverse the destruction of joint cartilage and inflammatory pain associated with arthritic disease. The researchers looked at the cartilage from discarded knees after surgery. They exposed some of the knees to omega-3 fats for 24 hours, while the control group were left untreated. Both samples were then exposed to chemicals that mimic inflammation.
What they found was a certain enzyme responsible for breaking down cartilage in osteoarthritis was halted by the omega-3 fats.
“Cod liver oil, which contains omega-3 fatty acids can be very helpful and beneficial in arthritic diseases,” says lead researcher Professor Bruce Caterson. “In very simple terms, we’ve been able to show we can slow down or remove the activities of the enzymes that degrade cartilage in arthritis and, as well, we can keep inflammation down to a lower level. These findings are extremely exciting and offer a scientific basis for why cod liver oil helps people with arthritis — and has done for many years.”
A finding like this is important for anyone suffering from osteoarthritis, a disease that causes a degradation of cartilage, leaving joints unprotected from regular ware and tear. The disease affects three million Canadians, according to the Arthritis Society. That’s one in every 10 Canadians.
We’ve known for some time cod liver oil contains vitamin A, vitamin D and the essential omega-3 fatty acids, nutrients that are an important part of health and wellness. Cod liver oil has been found to help with skin disorders, improve cardiovascular function, benefit both the mother and fetus during pregnancy and for babies when the mother takes it while breast feeding. Some studies have found that supplementing with cod liver oil may even result in an increase of child’s IQ by an average of seven points!
The Healthy Foodie is Doug DiPasquale, Holistic Nutritionist and trained chef, living in Toronto.